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estate planning Archives

Why does a will need witnesses?

Estate planning experts in Saint Charles continually stress the importance of your preparing a will. Yet equally as important as writing a will is ensuring that you have witnesses that can attest to it. The root cause of almost all will contest is objections to the validity of a will. Having witnesses in place proves to any interested parties to your estate that the provisions of your will are indeed valid. Without witnesses, you have what is known as a "holographic will," whose validity Missouri law does not recognize. 

Millennials and estate planning

For many young people in Missouri, the thought of creating an estate plan may be far off in the future. In fact, they may think it is only something their parents or grandparents need to be concerned about. This, however, is quite incorrect. An estate plan can be of great use even to a young, single millennial.

HBO spars with Michael Jackson's estate over documentary

An important element of estate planning may be understanding that whoever one chooses to serve as their personal representative could be in store in handling matters related to the role. That can go far beyond the duties involved with administering one's assets. In cases where an estate has intellectual or artistic properties (or notoriety in and around St. Louis is associated with the decedent), a personal representative may be called on months and even years after the decedent's death to protect their interests (or, in some cases, their reputation). 

Planning to avoid estate taxes

The primary motivation for many in Saint Charles to engage in estate planning is to ensure that all of the assets that they have worked so hard to accumulate throughout their lifetimes are able to benefit their chosen beneficiaries. However, there may be a concern amongst many that after having expended such effort, much of their estate will end up having to be paid in taxes (living little to pass on to heirs). Estate taxes are one of the most misunderstood aspects of the estate planning process, and thus much misinformation exists about this potential liability. Most will be pleased to learn, however, that with a little advanced planning, one might avoid having their estate taxed at all. 

What types of wills does Missouri consider valid?

Like most in Saint Charles, you likely envision the estate planning process to be quite formal. After all, matters dealing with the dispersal of your assets ought not to be taken lightly, and should be given the attention and care they deserve. Yet this does not necessarily mean that the creation of a will has to be a complex process. There are actually several different types of wills, each varying in the format that they are delivered. The question then becomes which does Missouri state law consider to be valid? 

IRS and Aretha Franklin's estate at odds over back taxes

Most in Saint Charles equate the tax responsibilities of an estate to be those owed in estate taxes. Federal estate tax exemptions often exempt most from owing any estate tax at all, so those administering an estate may believe that they do not have to worry about any tax liabilities. Yet estate tax exemptions do not apply to any outstanding income tax that a decedent may have owed at the time of their death. Such tax liabilities would continue to be treated like any other debts that need to be settled from an estate's assets. 

Play director quits over dispute with writer's estate

A major part of estate planning in Saint Charles is choosing an executor. Such a decision should not be taken lightly, as an executor assumes a complex job that may test their capabilities and even require a lifelong commitment. This is especially true in cases involving estate that count intellectual and artistic properties amongst their assets. Others may want to try and utilize such properties in other works in the future. This requires an executor to oversee the use of these assets, or more importantly, prevent their perceived misuse. 

Estate plan revision after a work injury

Multiple things can go wrong in life that make it necessary to go over your estate plan and make other important changes. For example, a marriage may break down or someone may lose one of their family members in an auto accident. Many other issues can necessitate estate plan revision, such as a work-related injury. If you were hurt on the job, you may be wondering how you will recover from the accident at the time being. However, you should try to think about some of the other long-term challenges that may arise, such as those related to your estate plan.

Examining Missouri's treatment of no-contest clauses

Those currently engaged in the estate planning process in Saint Charles no doubt grapple with the concern that not all of their beneficiaries will be satisfied with how their estates will be distributed. The hope is that even with certain people being disappointed, no disagreements will arise that are serious enough to hinder the dispersal of the estate. Some might suggest that one preparing a will should be pre-emptive in preventing disputes by included a no-contest clause. Many often question, however, whether such clauses are even enforceable. 

How can I protect a family member against fraud?

Elderly people are often a target of frauds and scams. Unfortunately, if your relative falls victim to such a scam there can be little to do to get back any money lost, which can get in the way of financial matters like estate planning. There are steps you can take to protect your loved one however, as explained by AARP.

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